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Update on reopening St. Joseph the Worker Church

June 26th, 2020

First of all, I hope all of you have been doing well spiritually, emotionally and physically during these trying times. Personally, I am doing well as I have stayed focused on St. Joseph the Worker parish and her needs both pastorally along with the ongoing business and diocesan aspects of keeping a parish church afloat. I can't say it's always been easy or frustration free working alone for the past 3 months but I can say that I am faithfully optimistic for the future of this parish. I believe many people will be surprised and pleased with the church repairs and improvements we have been undertaking during our shutdown. It will be a wonderful surprise...

As you are aware, Alameda County including the City of Berkeley Health Department have approved a limited reopening of church services which began June 19th. This phase allows for churches to offer limited outdoor or indoor services with an attendance limit of 100 people or 25% occupancy capacity, whichever is less, and it must factor in the mandatory 6 foot distancing requirements. At St. Joseph the Worker Church, that would mean either a 55 person capacity for an outdoor liturgy, or a 72 person capacity when held indoors.

Bishop Michael Barber recently emailed pastors with an update along with documents and a list of requirements that must be met before each parish church may be granted permission to reopen. In his letter Bishop reiterated that safety for our people was most important and so the June 19th date was considered a "may open date" not a "must open date." Taking into consideration all the government requirements and with concern for our people's safety and health, Bishop Barber along with a special priest committee set forth diocesan requirements that each parish church must be prepared to implement before being given the "green" light to reopen. Since each parish church is unique, and one plan does not necessarily fit all churches, each pastor must submit the parish church's own particular reopening plan and personally certify that he understands and will follow the regulations set forth by the government health department and the Bishop's office.

On Tuesday, I attended an online conference meeting with Bishop Barber addressing church reopening questions and requirements. I will be submitting our St. Joseph the Worker's reopening plan along with my "request permission to open" document to the Bishop's office for approval. I anticipate we will receive permission to reopen in very short order and then, through Flocknote and our website, announce St. Joseph the Worker Church's reopening date along with other important Mass reopening protocol.

Take care and God willing we'll be seeing each other soon!
- Fr. Kenneth Nobrega



May 22, 2020

Dear Parishioners and friends of St. Joseph the Worker,
May 31, 2020 is Pentecost Sunday, the Solemnity celebration of when the Apostles received the Gift of the Holy Spirit and thus the beginning of the Church.

I invite all of you to join me in a novena of prayer to The Holy Spirit in anticipation of Pentecost Sunday.

Starting this Saturday, May 23rd, those of you who have signed up with Flocknotes will receive the daily novena prayer.

Please invite your family and friends to sign-up with Flocknotes to join us in this novena prayer to the Holy Spirit and also to receive future prayers, event announcements and other St. Joseph the Worker Parish updates. Thank you.

Blessings +

Yours in the Risen Lord,
Fr. Kenneth Nobrega




A Letter from Father Kenneth Nobrega

April 29th, 2020

Dear Parishioners and friends of St. Joseph the Worker,

Today is day 44 of "Shelter in Place" but it sure feels at times longer than that. A lot sure has happened during this period of time. One thing for sure is that this past Lenten season really felt like Lent. One of our dear parishioners emailed me expressing it was the best Lent she has ever experienced. I of course celebrated Holy Week but it was a very different experience as alone, I laid prostrate in our empty church before the Altar on Good Friday at the start of the Passion Liturgy. However, throughout it all; Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I brought you along with me spiritually as I continue to do so when I offer the Holy Sacrifice.

I would like to express my gratitude to those who nonetheless keep supporting our parish with their donation offerings to God and His church - I very much appreciate it. Just like everyone else we have continual financial obligations that need to be met despite the shutdown. Prior to the Covid-19 virus we had already been operating our parish in a very lean manner but things have become even more difficult as donations are now down about 90%. As a result we have had to make some difficult financial decisions which include furloughing the only two employees we have (Our office secretary and our part-time sacristan) as well as discontinuing with those who provide important contract services for our church including basic maintenance. Bishop Michael Barber has also requested priests take a pay reduction for a period of time. And so I find myself here alone trying to hopefully keep everything afloat until the time we can return to some normality.

Despite all this the ministry of Jesus and His Church continues. I had one of the most beautiful experiences as a priest just this last Sunday as once again I went out to give one of our parishioner's the Last Rites (the 3rd of late). As I greeted "D" lying on her bed, wearing my mask and gloves, she gave me a most wonderful smile. As we continued with prayer, anointing, absolution of sins, and bestowing the Apostolic Pardon in preparing her for Heaven, "D" was beaming with gratitude and joy throughout it all although she was unable to speak. Before I left her, I asked "D" to pray for our parish of St. Joseph the Worker and for me and that when she saw God for her to intercede for me - she smiled, glowingly. Her demonstration and example of joyful, confident faith was so uplifting and edifying. I thanked God for this experience as it truly uplifted my spirit. It was an encouraging reminder of why and what it is to be a priest despite our current situation.

I hope you all have enjoyed praying the Novena to St. Joseph with me as we draw closer to the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st. Personally, I have found it prayerfully meaningful as it is helping me draw closer to our dear Patron. I hope you feel the same.

I would also like to draw your attention to a Mass that Bishop Barber will celebrate on Friday, May 1st. It will be live-streamed at facebook.com/CTLCathedral.org. Along with the bishops of the United States and Canada in their respective dioceses, he will re-consecrate the Diocese of Oakland to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The live-streamed Mass will be this Friday at 11:30am. I invite you to join with him in prayer as he entrusts the mission and people of the Diocese of Oakland to Mary, Saint Joseph's beloved spouse.

Lastly, as we approach May, a month traditionally dedicated in a special way to Mary, Pope Francis has asked all Catholics to pray the Rosary this month. Here is a link to the Holy Father's Letter

Until next time, please keep me in your daily prayers. Thank you, so much.

Blessings +
Fr. Kenneth Nobrega



March 30, 2020

Dear Parishioners and friends of St. Joseph the Worker,
In desiring to have immediate communication with our parishioners, friends, and those spiritually connected with our parish, I have St. Joseph the Worker subscribing to Flocknote. It's a wonderful notification system specifically designed for churches that allows us to reach all our parishioners at a moment's notice, and allowing you to stay connected with our parish and our parishioners.

Signing up for Flocknote will allow you to receive updates from me and the latest information regarding St. Joseph the Worker Church.

This communication tool will not only be most valuable as we navigate through our current "shelter in place" situation but will be an easy, efficient ongoing way of staying connected in the future. And of course for any reason you can choose to opt out at any time.

Hien Dao one of our dear parishioners will graciously be helping manage our Flocknotes and will also be assisting me as we begin looking into further social media upgrades.

Please sign up for the St. Joseph the Worker Flocknote through this link: https://stjosephtheworkerca.flocknote.com

And thank you for those who have already registered and signed-up.

Praying for all of you,
Fr. Kenneth Nobrega



ATTENTION PARISHIONERS

Dear Parishioners and friends of St. Joseph the Worker,

In collaboration with local Bay Area officials, and in service to the common good of our communities and our country, the Diocese of Oakland under the direction of Bishop Michael Barber has suspended all public Masses. All other events at parishes and schools are to be postponed, rescheduled or cancelled until further notice. The diocese chancery office has been closed with some staff working from home.

Because we are unable to continuously clean and sanitize the church per CDC guidelines regarding the virus and out of concern for our parishioners and for the good of public health in not wanting to contribute to the possible spread of the virus, St. Joseph the Worker will unfortunately be closed for the time being until further notice.

At the recommendation of the diocese our parish office will also be closed but you may leave a message at (510) 843-2244 for urgent needs.

While public Masses with the faithful are not permitted, please know that I will be offering a private daily Mass at St. Joseph the Worker church and will be bringing you along with me spiritually.

(Previously scheduled Mass intentions will be honored and offered).

And although parish Masses are suspended, please kindly continue to support St. Joseph the Worker as you are able to do so with your ongoing Sunday tithing/donations via mail, website donation tab or text 77977 as this health crisis is also a hardship for our parish church. Your support and generosity during this time is appreciated. Thank you.

Our current situation with the uncertainty of it all is making this a Lenten season to remember. Prayer is essential in order to go through this trial with peace and confidence in the Lord. Remember the great quote from Saint Padre Pio; "Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer."

Please keep me in your daily prayers as I pray for you.

Fr. Kenneth Nobrega







PROTECTOR OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH



PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH IN TRIALS OF THE CHURCH

"To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, and having asked the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently ask your patronage also.

Through the Sacred bond of charity which united you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the fatherly love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength.

O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved Father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin.

Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as once you saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity.

Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen."